Emus are native to Australia. Recently, several acres of land in Tamilnadu were converted into emu farms, and emus were brought from Australia at a cost of around Rs. 30,000 ($526) per pair.
These farms did not involve the risks of agriculture, like drought. Their founders guaranteed huge returns, as the birds provided raw materials to fast food joints, the cosmetics industry and restaurants. A few prominent actors from the Tamil movie industry were roped in to advertise these farms, which saw investments sky-rocketing within a year.
However, investors soon started complaining that the promised returns were not reaching them, and this was when the emu bubble burst. The owners had been swindling the investor money and not using it for expansion of the business, or even for maintaining the birds in a proper manner. Due to this, there was shortage of bird feed and at least a hundred emus were found dead across farms in Erode, Tamilnadu.
Based on the complaints of over 2000 investors, the police filed cases against 33 persons connected to emu farms on charges of fraud. The farm owners are said to have embezzled at least half a million dollars
Many of these farm owners are absconding. The Chief Minister of the state has taken measures to save the birds which have been starving after the farm owners and the workers fled. Vets have been employed to look into the needs of the surviving birds.
The future of the birds is expected to improve, but the questions about investors' money remain unanswered as of now.